Back in 1981 I was working at a theater in Rainbow City, Alabama when we showed a revival film that many people remembered. The title was Gone With The Wind and the crowds were huge. This was long before VHS tape came along and you could either rented or buy a copy. Whenever you wanted to see a classic you had to go to the theater to see it.
During that run I was projectionist and we had a rather poor copy of the film. It would break several times during the showing. It got to where I had to ‘babysit’ the print while another projectionist ran the other houses in the theater. I had to watch Gone With The Wind twice a day for over a month.
I got to know all the characters very well so when I found out that Evelyn Keyes had taken her Final Taxi at the age of 91 I was a little sad. Keyes will be remember for several well known Hollywood movies but more for her role as Scarlett OHara’s younger sister, Suellen.
Even though she appeared in over 40 movies she will also be known as the wife or lover of some of Hollywood’s famous movers and shakers. In her autobiographies she spoke of her affairs with David Niven, Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. She was also married to film director John Huston.
Born Port Arthur Texas in 1916, Evelyn Louise Keyes moved with her family to Atlanta Georgia. She was determined to make it to Hollywood and though dancing as “Goldie Keyes” arrived in 1936 where she was snatched up by film producer Cecil B. DeMille .
She had several roles from the films including The Jolson Story, The Seven Year Itch , A Thousand and One Nights, Dangerous Blondes, 99 River Street, Johnny O’Clock , Before I Hang and Around the World in Eighty Days. Keyes did several Westerns even though she was allergic to horses.
I also loved her as the love interest in Here Comes Mr. Jordan a movie that was remade several times, once with Warren Beatty and more recently with Chris Rock. The movie is about a man who is taken into Heaven too soon and has to be returned to another body.
Keyes also played on television on such shows as Amazing Stories, The Love Boat and several episodes of Murder She Wrote.